I’m writing this on the first day of Fall. Even though I’ve been ready for a good couple of weeks, even though the high school marching band next door started their morning practice sessions last month, and even though the temperatures at sunrise and sunset have had that telltale edge, it still somehow crept up on me.
A brand new season!
I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t mark the beginning of Fall by the hustle-and-bustle of buying school supplies, or the start-up of sports practices. I notice the seasonal change in other ways: the New Mexico State Fair (I went this year, and had an absolute blast). The abundance of apples and cider at the grocery store. The aforementioned high school marching band practice – I feel sorry for folks trying to sleep in on weekdays, but I LOVE walking out to my car to that peppy music.
And, of course, the running.
For a lot of runners, Fall = racing season. Just look at all the marathons and half marathons that occur from September through November, including Chicago and New York, two of the biggest marathons in the world. Thousands of runners spend the hot summer months training and preparing, whether it’s for one race or a series of them. What, exactly, those months of effort will yield is determined only on race day.
It’s not just harvest time in the agriculture world; it’s also harvest time in the running world.
Here in New Mexico – and in other regions, I’m sure – harvest time isn’t just about work; it’s about celebrating. We kick off September with an event in Santa Fe called Zozobra. The high point of this event is the burning of “Old Man Gloom,” an enormous effigy said to represent the worries and cares of the previous year. Kind of like the Yule Log at Christmas. Then we have the State Fair, and this weekend is the Corrales Harvest Festival. Celebrations, all – a collective exhale after a whole lot of labor, planning, praying, and worrying.
Sound familiar, runners?
If you’ve begun your racing season, or if you’ve got a Big Race around the bend, remember to let a little bit of celebration in. You’ve done long runs, short runs, speed workouts, and Lord knows what else in the relentless heat of summer – or possibly in a downpour, depending where you live. Yes, racing can be stressful, but the hardest part is out of the way. Now it’s harvest time. Building a corn maze, making apple pie, drinking cider, running a PR: are they really so different?
And after the harvest, what then? Harvest time has a lot in common with New Year’s Eve. Not only is it a time to revel in the fruits of hard work, but also to take stock. What do we want the future to hold? What do we want to do after our race(s)?
As for myself, I’m still trying to figure that out. Do I want to run another race or two, or just maintain fitness before starting to train for Boston? Do I want to go to yoga more often? Do I want to stop trying to decide all this and just make an apple pie??
It’s harvest time. Whatever it is that you’re harvesting, enjoy it!